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The danger of breaking assumed promises Featured

9:33am EDT July 22, 2002
Business relationships create strange situations. An assumed promise is one of them.

Here's an example of how one situation, if handled differently, could have resulted in a lost customer.

I was growing frustrated waiting for a prescription. When the pharmacist finally took care of me, he apologized for the long delay and explained that his assistant had just quit, so he was short-staffed.

He realized that I had assumed the service would be faster and treated it as if he'd broken a promise. That pharmacist was working smarter and the result was that he kept my business.

Fair or not, assumed promises can hurt your business relationships. The solution is simple.

Always remember to apologize when you break an assumed promise -- one believed by one party to have been made, though never formally verbalized. Jeff Mowatt (jmowatt@attglobal.net) is a 20-year veteran of the service industry who develops training programs and consults with business owners looking to improve their staff's service. He can be reached at (800) 566-9288.